Startup Pitch: WorthyTravelers looks for an authentic nicheNews / Distribution | OnlineBy Martin Cowen | April 11, 2017Share This article was originally published on WorthyTravelers is not the only business looking to appeal to people who are interested in booking authentic experiences, which are recommended by experts, working with influencers to promote the site and the trips it offers.Based in east London, the small-scale startup currently has a line-up of trips from around the globe, from a tour of Asia's Golden Triangle on a vintage motorbike to a two-day trip to Chernobyl.Video Clip:Tnooz from DAVID ZILBERBERG on Vimeo.Q&A with founder of CEO David Zilberberg:What problem does your business solve?Travel platform nowadays mostly offer through their integration the same tours and activities across the world. On the other hand there are a number of small operators who do not have proper exposure and are not listed on mainstream platforms but offer unique experiences.There is a general trend especially among Millennials who want to avoid the crowds and find authentic travel experiences to tick off their bucket list.We are a platform where these niche travel vendors can reach a larger exposure and where users can securely book them within a few clicks on a clean-looking interface.Names of founders, their management roles, and number of full-time paid staff?CEO / Founder: David Zilberberg graduated from the American University of Paris and worked in tourism out of Hong Kong for the past six years. He has travelled to over 115 countries.CTO: Krupal Patel is a full stack developer who worked on the back and front end of the websiteFunding arrangements?The website was self-funded up to now and the team is looking for an early stage investmentRevenue model?We are currently earning 10-20% commission on bookings through our customer platform.We aim to also add an API revenue stream which could be integrated in blogs as well as start offering unique accommodations around the world such as the tree hotel in Sweden or the Giraffe Manor in NairobiWhy do you think the pain point you’re solving is painful enough that customers are willing to pay for your solution?We are a win-win solution for both vendors and paying customers. On the vendor side we bring new customers and the exposure that they deserve and on the customer side we sell experiences at the same price or less than they would buy from the operator directly while providing additional insurance, customer support and in general a smoother process than dealing with a vendor at the other end of the world directly.We vet each provider very thoroughly by checking their press, online reviews and either meeting face to face when possible or having Skype interviewsExternal validation? (Examples: The incubators/accelerators you have been accepted to, the mentors who are advising you, the number of customers you’ve signed, the marketing partner deals you’ve made, the skills/connections of your founders, etc.)We have been accepted into the Traveltech hub in London and are currently working with more than 50 travel vendors around the world, recommended by prestigious blogs or online publications such as Financial Times’ How to Spend it, the Guardian or the Huffington Post.We have reached more than one million view through travel influencers and Facebook groups such as the Bike Shed.Tnooz view:The "authentic experiences" market is as vast as it is ill-defined, while unique experiences are even more difficult to pin down.The challenges that Worthy Travelers faces are familiar - how do you get the volume of traffic and traction to convert enough lookers to bookers, how do you source inventory that no-one else has, how do you ensure that customers will book at your site compared with the many others in the market?At the scale Worthy Travelers is currently operating, the volumes needed are relatively modest. One article in the consumer travel press, one online feature that resonates and goes viral, one of its experts winning an award - any of these could boost traffic and its profile by a material margin.But the above could be said of the many sites operating in the same space, at the same scale. Some will grow to become successful businesses in their own right, some will be bought, some will keep trundling along and some will disappear into the cybergraveyard of authentic travel experience websites.These sites need some differentiation, some concrete or abstract way of standing out from the crowd. In a company presentation sent through as part of the preparation, WorthyTravelers talked about being "disconnected from the crowds, connected to the destination." That's a nice tagline and making more of it could be a start.